If there is one thing that makes life in an RV more convenient than the traditional camping experience, it is the comfort of having a toilet inside the recreational vehicle.
It is even more enjoyable for families with young ones because they don’t have to wait until the next gas station.
However, this comfort can turn into a nightmare when an RV toilet clogs because of the accumulation of solid waste in the black tank. Though other substances and products like feminine products may clog your RV toilet, the main culprit is toilet paper.
But the question arises – do you have to use toilet paper that is specifically made for RVs?
It’s possible to use both RV toilet paper and normal toilet paper in a camper (depending on the brand). A lot of normal toilet paper brands, without the RV-safe label, will not clog your toilet. However, some of them will, and, therefore, you should always test your brand for dissolvability before flushing it down your toilet. More on that later.
What is RV toilet paper?
The best way to describe RV toilet paper is by its two main features: it dissolves faster than regular toilet paper, and it is soft and absorbent because its sheets are thin. RV toilet paper is specially designed for the small sewage system in your RV, taking into account the duration you have to drive and live in your RV before you can empty the RV tank into a sewer.
RV toilet paper has one to four-ply per sheet, and it comes in convenient packets of four, eight, or even a dozen rolls.
How are RV septic tanks built?
RV septic tanks have two separate tanks, these are the gray and the black water tanks. The gray one collects water from the shower and the wash sinks, and since we use soap in these two places, their wastewater is gray instead of black.
The black water tank serves the toilet.
This RV tank may be under your toilet so that the waste flushes directly into it. However, it might also serve as a macerator toilet where the waste flushes from the RV toilet into the tank horizontally. Until you hook it up to a sewer and dump it, all the waste should dissolve in the tank.
Hence, using toilet paper that disintegrates quickly reduces the amount of solid waste in the tank.
What happens if you use normal toilet paper in your RV?
Since your RV has a delicate sewage system, it may clog when you use the wrong toilet paper. In this case, using the wrong toilet paper means it is too thick, and it does not dissolve in your RV tank. Remember, this RV tank collects both solid waste and the water used to flush the solid waste.
When the solid waste builds up faster than liquid waste, this imbalance will lead to clogging. When your RV toilet clogs, you might have to end your camping trip altogether because of the inconveniences of using a public toilet on the camping site and living in an RV with an awful smell.
Using too much toilet paper of the wrong type may also fill your RV tank faster. When the solid waste exceeds the liquid waste, the RV rank will require regular dumping.
Additionally, filling up the toilet with the wrong tissue will use more water to flush the waste into the RV tank and more water to flush the tank after dumping. It will be quite expensive to live in your RV.
Pros of using RV toilet paper
This type of toilet paper breaks down fast, so it is safe for the environment, and some brands are also free of chemicals and fragrances.
2. Available in most stores
You don’t have to worry about running out of RV toilet paper because you can stock up wherever you go camping. Additionally, you can look up online suppliers when camping away from your home town.
3.Designed for the RV systems
RV toilet paper has undergone product testing and research to find fibers that dissolve in an RV tank. Therefore, using it gives you peace of mind knowing that you are not experimenting, as would be the case when using regular toilet paper in an RV toilet.
4. Good quality options
To make this toilet paper suitable for RV tanks, manufacturers take extra care to make thin sheets, and the result is a soft, super-absorbent ply that is soft on your skin.
5. Wide range of products
There is a generous supply of RV toilet papers in the market. Additionally, they offer a different number of rolls per packet and a different number of sheets. For example, you can find a brand with 500 sheets per roll and another brand with 230 sheets.
6. Easier RV maintenance
When your RV toilet functions normally, it will be easier to maintain it unlike when you have to pay to unclog your RV tank or incur the expense of driving for hours looking for a public toilet.
Cons of using RV toilet paper
1. Very thin ply
Some brands have thin ply, so you end up using more sheets of toilet paper. With super thin ply, there may be a compromise on how absorbent they are.
2. Slightly more expensive
RV toilet paper will cost you a few more Dollars than regular toilet paper for a comfortable camping experience without the inconvenience of a clogged RV tank.
What’s the difference between RV toilet paper and regular toilet paper?
RV toilet paper breaks down and dissolves faster than regular toilet paper, such that it does not clog your RV tank. Some brands of regular toilet paper may break down at almost a similar rate. However, since their manufacturer did not have the RV tank in mind, they may pose a risk to your RV tank.
When looking at different brands, consider the ply each toilet paper offers. Multi-ply toilet papers may be too thick for use in your RV. You may want to stick to a single-ply or a two-ply brand and a maximum of four-ply toilet paper sheets.
What is the difference between septic safe and RV toilet paper?
Septic safe means it is suitable for a toilet that is not connected to a sewer – one that uses a septic tank. Septic safe also includes toilet paper that is biodegradable, meaning the fibers dissolve faster. It can also describe recycled toilet paper made without chemicals that may harm the useful microorganisms that breakdown matter in a septic tank.
Recycled toilet paper is unscented, and has no dyes or inks.
Hence, when RV toilet paper is septic safe, it is free of fragrances, has no chemicals, and is biodegradable. These features ensure the toilet paper dissolves faster in the tank, and it does not just sit at the bottom.
How to tell if your toilet paper is safe for RVs
One of the easiest ways to test your toilet paper is using water.
- Fill a clear jar with water, soak several sheets of toilet paper, and fix the lid on the jar.
- Shake the jar for a few seconds until the toilet paper breaks down.
If the toilet paper disintegrates and dissolves, it is okay to use it in your RV. If you have to shake the jar severally for the paper to start breaking down, it will not dissolve in your RV tank.
You can test several toilet paper brands this way to get a brand with the best quality.
Which toilet paper brands are best for RVs?
When looking for great value packs of RV toilet paper, check the thickness of the ply and how many sheets the brand has per roll. Additionally, don’t forget to check if it’s labeled for use in RVs.
1. Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper
This brand is made for delicate sewage systems in RVs and boats; therefore, it dissolves four times faster than regular toilet paper. This makes it a potential product for RVs used for family vacations, as there are more visits to the toilet.
Additionally, this 4-rolls brand has absorbent, unscented ply making it safe for the family. It can also serve people whose skin is sensitive to chemicals in toilet paper.
2. Freedom RV toilet paper
It comes in four or eight roll packs, each with 500 two-ply sheets. Hence, there is more toilet paper in one packet. Carrying such large bundles of RV toilet paper will minimize the load in your RV cabinets.
It’s also unscented if you are looking for a brand that does not have harsh chemicals and it is biodegradable to protect the environment.
This brand comes in 12 rolls of 230 four-ply sheets and is suitable for RV toilets. It is also septic safe, so it is biodegradable and chemical-free. Though it is a four-ply toilet paper brand, they are super thin.
With four-ply per sheet, you will use a fewer number of sheets every time.
4. Camco RV & Marine Toilet Tissue
It is suitable for RV toilets and comes in 4 rolls pack with 200 one-ply sheets. It is one of the thinnest sheets making it soft. These thin sheets also make it dissolve fast, and this brand is biodegradable and septic safe.
5. Thetford RV/Marine Toilet Tissue
This brand has one-ply sheets, and the pack comes in four rolls of 350 sheets. To avoid buying regular toilet paper instead of an RV-friendly brand, buy from a store that stocks camping and RV supplies.
If you have a trusted toilet paper brand that you know and love, you may not have to switch to accommodate your RV tanks just yet. A good portion of regular toilet paper brands are safe for delicate septic systems.
However, it’s important to do your research before flushing any of these down your toilet. Using the test that I mentioned above, you’ll be able to see whether you should continue using your brand.
If you found this post helpful, check out my other posts on living in an RV.